Archbishop Chaput: New Pope Francis movie is a beautiful tribute

Philadelphia, Pa., May 16, 2018 / 02:54 pm (CNA).- The upcoming film, “Pope Francis: A Man of his Word,” has won praise from Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, who applauded the movie’s compelling portrayal of the Holy Father.

The director “weaves an on-going, intimate, one-on-one interview with the pope throughout the film. It’s a hugely effective technique; one has a sense that Francis is looking directly at, speaking directly to, the individual viewer,” the archbishop wrote in a May 14 column.

The hour-and-a-half documentary offers an intimate look at the pope’s travels, acts of charity, and speeches. It shows the pope’s response to social issues around the world, including immigration and the value of family life.

Distributed by Focus Features, the movie will be released in select theaters on May 18. Archbishop Chaput reviewed the film at an early screening. Additionally, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago hosted a screening and discussion on May 14.

The film is co-written and directed by German filmmaker Wim Wenders. Nominated for three Academy Awards, Wenders’ previous films include “Wings of Desire,” “Buena Vista Social Club,” and “Salt of the Earth.”

The director’s work is largely “marked by a Christian-inspired spirituality,” Archbishop Chaput said, pointing to filmmaker’s Catholic upbringing.

“He focuses compellingly on the pope’s concern for the environment, the poor, and immigrants. He also captures the pope’s vigorous commitment to marriage, the family, and the complementarity of men and women.”

Among the most powerful scenes, Archbishop Chaput said, are the pope’s visits to “immigrants, the poor, the sick, the Shoah memorial Yad Vashem in Israel, and the Western Wall in Jerusalem.”

The archbishop did critique the film on a few points, saying the movie felt too lengthy and did not fully portray Catholic teachings on the human person.

“Wenders also misses (or avoids) the opportunity to present the holistic Catholic vision of human dignity that Francis serves, i.e., the reason why Catholic concerns for the unborn child, the disabled, the elderly, the environment, and the immigrant are inextricably linked in a network of priorities.”

Additionally, he said the film was incomplete in its portrayal of Saint Francis of Assisi, who inspired Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to take on the name of Pope Francis.

“Its portrait of Francis of Assisi, while useful to the narrative, is selective and only lightly acquainted with the real saint, who was a complex and formidable man concerned for Creation as a reflection of God’s glory, not as a limited natural resource.”

However, Archbishop Chaput said, they flaws do not detract from the beauty and substance of the film. He encouraged Catholics to support “Pope Francis: A Man of his Word,” coming to theaters this Friday.

“Wenders and Focus Features (and the Holy Father himself) deserve our gratitude for offering the world such an exceptional encounter with the Successor of Peter. May it touch thousands of hearts.”


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1 Comment

  1. No I will not support. Is this realism or delusion? Seemingly everyone who remains faithful to Apostolic tradition except in this instance for whatever purpose, perhaps that a rosy picture is better than dark reality the faithful Archbishop Chaput is aware that Pope Francis has implemented a double message one of orthodox appeal to compassion for the poor, homeless, disenfranchised, the environment as entirely acceptable. The other by heterodox suggestion, evasive statements, political maneuver, tacit approbation of doctrinal change, delegation of his authority to bishops conferences particularly the German. No one with competence canonical or otherwise has shown that he can be convicted of heresy. He does not formulate his errors as definitively held [sententia definitive tenenda] or formally pronounced. His errors are made outside the spectrum of doctrinal pronouncement. That is the apparent genius of someone in supreme authority fully knowledgeable of his limits and the means available to furtively implement a dismantling of traditional Church doctrine and structure. If one were to say hypothetically what would be the most effective means using precisely the same benign appeals and evasive methods for undermining faith and morals that we are now witnessing–that is to say doing it more powerfully and effectively another means escapes my imagination.

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